“No shame” if Mercedes’ revamped car looks like a Red Bull

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff says he doesn’t care if their attempt to produce a more competitive car results in a design which resembles Red Bull’s.

The team has accepted it needs to overhaul the design of its W14 after failing to make the progress it expected at the beginning of the 2023 season.

The W14 retains the highly unusual ‘zero’ sidepods of its predecessor. However Wolff said he doesn’t care if its distinctive design is replaced by one which mimics the Red Bulls which have won 11 of the last 12 races.

“We have no dogmatism of how the car should look like,” said Wolff after qualifying for today’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. “It just needs to be the quickest possible race car. If that looks like a Red Bull… I don’t care. It just needs to be quick.”

“I will have no shame if it’s quick,” he added.

Mercedes are reconsidering all aspects of the car’s design beyond its unique sidepods, said Wolff. “It is all the aerodynamic surfaces that are visible from the leading edge all the way to the diffuser and the beam wing.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Jeddah Corniche Circuit, 2023
Red Bull’s RB19 is the class of the field

“There is massive amounts on the floor, obviously, with a ground effect car. And then there is many more architectural things that are necessary in order to give it the bodywork that you think is most efficient. So literally the car is being turned upside-down at the moment and there’s a lot of goodness that we see.”

Earlier this weekend George Russell suggested that, having been too aggressive with its 2022 design, the team had gone over-reacted with its latest car. Wolff gave a similar view.

“I think you’re trying to fire it right in the target and the first time we missed it on the left and looked at the target again and the next time we missed it on the right,” he said. “So that’s a bit where we are.”

On Thursday Lewis Hamilton said he felt Mercedes had made a mistake with the design of their latest car when he saw how different it was to that of their rivals.

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2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

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